New at Core77: Anarchism & Design

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Long-time readers of this blog probably saw this one coming. My June column at Core77 is about how I mix my anarchism with my design work. It’s a summation of how I work, with examples from projects you might be familiar with.

So come for the anarchism; stay for the trolling.

The column is free to read – click here to dive in.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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17 Responses to New at Core77: Anarchism & Design

  1. Fred Beck says:

    That was a good read. I would love to ‘retire’ into a small business. A growing showroom of furniture I know I can make and sell efficiently. Customer could make slight changes to the dimensions and perhaps designs can be bent as my skill and time allow.
    Healthcare and other ‘necessities’ hold me back. Nervous about failing business? 5/10. About unforeseen failing health which tends to happen to people who are currently alive? 10/10 fear index

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  2. Nice work Chris.

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  3. Mark says:

    The anarchist’s club should be a t-shirt.
    Anarchist’s Club: Don’t Join Us

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Martin O'Brien says:

    Inspiring! Thank you!

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  5. Ozan says:

    Me and my wife are building a dental practice around these sort of principles. We’re both dentists, have the minimun amount of employees (one and a half) and low overhead. We share our space with an independant dental technician. Our school mates think us crazy to clean our chairs ourselves or answer the phone/door from time to time but we’re probably the least stressed of the bunch and enjoy our jobs the most. We work as a family, know all our patients/employees and they know us.

    I just wrote all of this to say that all the advice you give about furniture/business design can be applied to other sorts of businesses and projects. Exept the one about buying shoddy tools, a dentist should probably avoid that one.

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    • Curt Lavallee says:

      Man, I hope you employ the top half…

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    • As I was lying in the chair having a filling done, I once foolishly made the observation that all of the tools the dentist was using looked like a small version of something they sell at Home Despot. His response: “Yeah, basically”.

      That ruined both dentists and hardware stores for me :-/

      Liked by 1 person

  6. hgordon4 says:

    Speaking as a CPA with his own practice / woodworker, I approve. ;>)
    I agree wholeheartedly with Chris’s observations on organizational growth. I had a dozen employees at one time. I had become the manager of an organization and ceased working with / taking care of my clients. I came to realize – in large part through my woodworking – that I was at heart a craftsman, not an assembly line owner/manager. That craftsman mentality can’t really be compartmentalized. So over a small number of years I scaled down my business to the clients I really liked and just me. Much happier. More time for woodworking too.

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    • Ozan says:

      You did good. Backing up from a position you’re settled into? From a good revenue? It’s not easy but look at what it gave you. “Clients [you] really liked”, it’s all right there. Liking your job and partners is cool but the people you work for? It’s the best feeling.

      Good on you Gordon

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Joe says:

    Thanks Chris. That was a good read.

    A long time ago you had written a blog about Josiah Warren and his labor for goods store. That always stuck with me. The reason I really liked it is that at the time I was starting to get into woodworking. Mostly, I have a long enough list of things to make for my family and gifts for friends that I don’t really want to sell stuff. I figured at some point, someone would want me to make them a copy of something I had already done. I figured the best way to deal with it was to use Josiah Warren’s model. “I’m happy to make it for you but your money is no good with me. I need you to buy the lumber (with my help). Then, for every hour I am working on your project, you can spend an hour taking care of chores around my house. My wife will appreciate the help, I will enjoy making it, and it won’t cost you anything but equal time on your part.”

    We still have the house where my grandmother lived and it still has the 1940s AT&T phone in it. It’s call quality used to be poorer than modern copper wire phones but it is better than most cell phones. Speaking of cell phones, I have an iPhone 5 and I hope it doesn’t die. I can’t see spending $1,000 on a new phone. You know how much wood I can buy for that kind of money?

    Oh, I have an idea for a product I would love to see you make – how about a hand cranked grinder? I don’t want a power one and I get nervous on eBay items.

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  8. Jim Blank says:

    Hi Chris,
    How do you plan on handing your craft down to the next generation?
    Just curious.
    Jim B

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    • Well, I teach. Been doing that for more than 13 years now. I write books, and I publish the books of people I admire. And I make the books so they will last for generations to help preserve the knowledge.

      I attempt to inspire other with magazine articles and blog entries in the hope that they will take up the tools.

      I’ve even done personally distasteful things, such as appearing in more than 20 videos that demonstrate everything from basic skills (sharpening) to chairmaking.

      It might not be enough. But that is all I can manage.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jim Blank says:

        OK thanks. I just wondered if you had a protege that you might be passing it on,
        one on one. I had my Dad, and later on another man my Dad’s age, who passed
        carpentry on to me directly. I teach woodworking merit badge classes for the Boy Scouts,
        and I know of a couple of the boys who were inspired by it and went into the trade.
        But my own two sons had no interest in it, and the man who works for me is my age,
        so a bit of a regret for me is that I did not pass it down to another one directly.
        Our family business will eventually end after 5 generations.

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      • You also taught us how to disco dance.

        Liked by 1 person

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